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Interview

van Bommel's Barça reunion

After guiding Antwerp to their first Belgian title since 1957, Mark van Bommel is now plotting a debut Champions League campaign – starting at Barcelona, where he won the trophy in 2006

This is Antwerp’s first Champions League campaign and what a way to start – away at Barcelona. What will you be telling your players; how will you prepare them for this match? 

Pretty much in the same way as [we did] for the [Belgian league] play-offs at the end of last season, six very close matches in terms of points, but also level of play and details. What I told the players was to try and always prepare the way you normally would. My job is to get the tactics right for them, so they know what to expect and how the opponent is going to play and how we should play against them. I explain what our own playing strategy is going to be, so they know what their task is.

What does playing Barcelona mean to you?

It’s absolutely fabulous that we, Antwerp, will be playing there. Nobody would have expected that we would be playing Barcelona last year, at the start of the season, exactly a year ago now. That we would win the [Belgian] league and qualify for the Champions League, nobody would have expected it and it’s truly unique. We can count ourselves lucky, but now that we’re here, we also want to perform.

Are expectations at Antwerp rising all the time? Do you feel you can make things happen in this competition?

Yes, that’s what we really want. It’s just not that easy, it’s our first time in the Champions League. The fans, the city… you can really sense that we’ve achieved something unique. Hearing the Champions League hymn being played before the AEK Athens match [in the play-offs] was very special. All teams in the group stage have a chance of going through. Certain teams have a greater chance than others, but there’s always a chance. It’s never the case that you don’t have any chance at all, especially not in a single match. In a group, there are opportunities. Form on the day, possible suspensions and injuries come into play and then the little details. 

van Bommel in his playing days, celebrateing with Samuel Eto'o after scoring against Betis in 2005

How important is it to get those little details right?

It’s all in the detail. We have experienced that against AEK twice already and it is great that we can take that with us. Gaining experience by experiencing, especially with our young group of players. Matches are decided in a moment or two. That may sound strange, because you play for 90 minutes, but often you only get one chance. The players need to experience playing AEK away; you’re leading 1-0 and you’ll be playing in a cauldron that is roasting hot, not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of atmosphere. You need to learn how to handle that and how to remain calm. You need to keep playing in the same way and not get carried away. Those are great learning opportunities.

The details went in your favour at the end of last season – tell us about how you won the league…

Unbelievable. I started as a new coach, so you try to convince your players of your strategy and you try to do that as quickly as possible as the season starts soon. We started the league and won nine games in a row. That broke a record from 1931. We had some poor games just ahead of the World Cup and dropped a few points. During the World Cup we did a training camp and after we had an upward trend, certainly in January and February, where we played some great matches. We moved on to the [Belgian] Cup final, then directly into the play-offs. That started fantastically, with three wins in a row. After that, it became a roller coaster. We lost at [Club] Brugge, but we got another chance to win the league the week after, on the penultimate matchday, against Union [Saint-Gilloise]. Everyone was prepared and assumed we would be crowned champions at home, for the first time in 66 years. We conceded in the last ten minutes and drew. We had to wait another week, knowing that a win would clinch the title. Union played at home and had the same number of points, Genk had one less point than us. On that last day, it was Union winning the title, Genk winning the title, us winning the title, right until the end. If you have an ending like that, it is unbelievable. I do not think that will ever happen again, not with three teams. To clinch the title with a goal by Toby Alderweireld [in added time], it is fantastic.

What prompted you to come to Antwerp?

Because they asked me. I thought about it and believed the club was right for me. A bit of a hardcore club, fanatic fans. A club that is growing, they were in the second division only seven years ago. A club under construction: facilities were good, the group of players, I was very happy with that. I knew that structure was becoming better than it already was. We went much too fast, really. In everything. The way we played, the results, it gets the fans going, the city, the club. The expectations are much higher now, but it could not have been better.  

What is the best part of the manager’s job? 

You get to practise certain things in training, you come up with things. You watch your opponent on video, and you come up with a plan to suit your own way of playing and it then pays off. You practise something in training. The boys understand you and when you’re in the dug-out during the match, you see the things you agreed on happening on the pitch and it makes you win the match. That gives a manager the most satisfaction at that moment. Seeing the progress you’ve made throughout the season, that’s why you became a manager, to make the team play better football. Once a team starts to play better – like the way we did last season, we got better and better – that is also good for individual players. It draws attention to them. For a manager, that's the ultimate thing to happen. 

This is Antwerp’s first Champions League campaign and what a way to start – away at Barcelona. What will you be telling your players; how will you prepare them for this match? 

Pretty much in the same way as [we did] for the [Belgian league] play-offs at the end of last season, six very close matches in terms of points, but also level of play and details. What I told the players was to try and always prepare the way you normally would. My job is to get the tactics right for them, so they know what to expect and how the opponent is going to play and how we should play against them. I explain what our own playing strategy is going to be, so they know what their task is.

What does playing Barcelona mean to you?

It’s absolutely fabulous that we, Antwerp, will be playing there. Nobody would have expected that we would be playing Barcelona last year, at the start of the season, exactly a year ago now. That we would win the [Belgian] league and qualify for the Champions League, nobody would have expected it and it’s truly unique. We can count ourselves lucky, but now that we’re here, we also want to perform.

Are expectations at Antwerp rising all the time? Do you feel you can make things happen in this competition?

Yes, that’s what we really want. It’s just not that easy, it’s our first time in the Champions League. The fans, the city… you can really sense that we’ve achieved something unique. Hearing the Champions League hymn being played before the AEK Athens match [in the play-offs] was very special. All teams in the group stage have a chance of going through. Certain teams have a greater chance than others, but there’s always a chance. It’s never the case that you don’t have any chance at all, especially not in a single match. In a group, there are opportunities. Form on the day, possible suspensions and injuries come into play and then the little details. 

van Bommel in his playing days, celebrateing with Samuel Eto'o after scoring against Betis in 2005

How important is it to get those little details right?

It’s all in the detail. We have experienced that against AEK twice already and it is great that we can take that with us. Gaining experience by experiencing, especially with our young group of players. Matches are decided in a moment or two. That may sound strange, because you play for 90 minutes, but often you only get one chance. The players need to experience playing AEK away; you’re leading 1-0 and you’ll be playing in a cauldron that is roasting hot, not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of atmosphere. You need to learn how to handle that and how to remain calm. You need to keep playing in the same way and not get carried away. Those are great learning opportunities.

The details went in your favour at the end of last season – tell us about how you won the league…

Unbelievable. I started as a new coach, so you try to convince your players of your strategy and you try to do that as quickly as possible as the season starts soon. We started the league and won nine games in a row. That broke a record from 1931. We had some poor games just ahead of the World Cup and dropped a few points. During the World Cup we did a training camp and after we had an upward trend, certainly in January and February, where we played some great matches. We moved on to the [Belgian] Cup final, then directly into the play-offs. That started fantastically, with three wins in a row. After that, it became a roller coaster. We lost at [Club] Brugge, but we got another chance to win the league the week after, on the penultimate matchday, against Union [Saint-Gilloise]. Everyone was prepared and assumed we would be crowned champions at home, for the first time in 66 years. We conceded in the last ten minutes and drew. We had to wait another week, knowing that a win would clinch the title. Union played at home and had the same number of points, Genk had one less point than us. On that last day, it was Union winning the title, Genk winning the title, us winning the title, right until the end. If you have an ending like that, it is unbelievable. I do not think that will ever happen again, not with three teams. To clinch the title with a goal by Toby Alderweireld [in added time], it is fantastic.

What prompted you to come to Antwerp?

Because they asked me. I thought about it and believed the club was right for me. A bit of a hardcore club, fanatic fans. A club that is growing, they were in the second division only seven years ago. A club under construction: facilities were good, the group of players, I was very happy with that. I knew that structure was becoming better than it already was. We went much too fast, really. In everything. The way we played, the results, it gets the fans going, the city, the club. The expectations are much higher now, but it could not have been better.  

What is the best part of the manager’s job? 

You get to practise certain things in training, you come up with things. You watch your opponent on video, and you come up with a plan to suit your own way of playing and it then pays off. You practise something in training. The boys understand you and when you’re in the dug-out during the match, you see the things you agreed on happening on the pitch and it makes you win the match. That gives a manager the most satisfaction at that moment. Seeing the progress you’ve made throughout the season, that’s why you became a manager, to make the team play better football. Once a team starts to play better – like the way we did last season, we got better and better – that is also good for individual players. It draws attention to them. For a manager, that's the ultimate thing to happen. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

This is Antwerp’s first Champions League campaign and what a way to start – away at Barcelona. What will you be telling your players; how will you prepare them for this match? 

Pretty much in the same way as [we did] for the [Belgian league] play-offs at the end of last season, six very close matches in terms of points, but also level of play and details. What I told the players was to try and always prepare the way you normally would. My job is to get the tactics right for them, so they know what to expect and how the opponent is going to play and how we should play against them. I explain what our own playing strategy is going to be, so they know what their task is.

What does playing Barcelona mean to you?

It’s absolutely fabulous that we, Antwerp, will be playing there. Nobody would have expected that we would be playing Barcelona last year, at the start of the season, exactly a year ago now. That we would win the [Belgian] league and qualify for the Champions League, nobody would have expected it and it’s truly unique. We can count ourselves lucky, but now that we’re here, we also want to perform.

Are expectations at Antwerp rising all the time? Do you feel you can make things happen in this competition?

Yes, that’s what we really want. It’s just not that easy, it’s our first time in the Champions League. The fans, the city… you can really sense that we’ve achieved something unique. Hearing the Champions League hymn being played before the AEK Athens match [in the play-offs] was very special. All teams in the group stage have a chance of going through. Certain teams have a greater chance than others, but there’s always a chance. It’s never the case that you don’t have any chance at all, especially not in a single match. In a group, there are opportunities. Form on the day, possible suspensions and injuries come into play and then the little details. 

van Bommel in his playing days, celebrateing with Samuel Eto'o after scoring against Betis in 2005

How important is it to get those little details right?

It’s all in the detail. We have experienced that against AEK twice already and it is great that we can take that with us. Gaining experience by experiencing, especially with our young group of players. Matches are decided in a moment or two. That may sound strange, because you play for 90 minutes, but often you only get one chance. The players need to experience playing AEK away; you’re leading 1-0 and you’ll be playing in a cauldron that is roasting hot, not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of atmosphere. You need to learn how to handle that and how to remain calm. You need to keep playing in the same way and not get carried away. Those are great learning opportunities.

The details went in your favour at the end of last season – tell us about how you won the league…

Unbelievable. I started as a new coach, so you try to convince your players of your strategy and you try to do that as quickly as possible as the season starts soon. We started the league and won nine games in a row. That broke a record from 1931. We had some poor games just ahead of the World Cup and dropped a few points. During the World Cup we did a training camp and after we had an upward trend, certainly in January and February, where we played some great matches. We moved on to the [Belgian] Cup final, then directly into the play-offs. That started fantastically, with three wins in a row. After that, it became a roller coaster. We lost at [Club] Brugge, but we got another chance to win the league the week after, on the penultimate matchday, against Union [Saint-Gilloise]. Everyone was prepared and assumed we would be crowned champions at home, for the first time in 66 years. We conceded in the last ten minutes and drew. We had to wait another week, knowing that a win would clinch the title. Union played at home and had the same number of points, Genk had one less point than us. On that last day, it was Union winning the title, Genk winning the title, us winning the title, right until the end. If you have an ending like that, it is unbelievable. I do not think that will ever happen again, not with three teams. To clinch the title with a goal by Toby Alderweireld [in added time], it is fantastic.

What prompted you to come to Antwerp?

Because they asked me. I thought about it and believed the club was right for me. A bit of a hardcore club, fanatic fans. A club that is growing, they were in the second division only seven years ago. A club under construction: facilities were good, the group of players, I was very happy with that. I knew that structure was becoming better than it already was. We went much too fast, really. In everything. The way we played, the results, it gets the fans going, the city, the club. The expectations are much higher now, but it could not have been better.  

What is the best part of the manager’s job? 

You get to practise certain things in training, you come up with things. You watch your opponent on video, and you come up with a plan to suit your own way of playing and it then pays off. You practise something in training. The boys understand you and when you’re in the dug-out during the match, you see the things you agreed on happening on the pitch and it makes you win the match. That gives a manager the most satisfaction at that moment. Seeing the progress you’ve made throughout the season, that’s why you became a manager, to make the team play better football. Once a team starts to play better – like the way we did last season, we got better and better – that is also good for individual players. It draws attention to them. For a manager, that's the ultimate thing to happen. 

van Bommel's Barça reunion
Interview

van Bommel's Barça reunion

After guiding Antwerp to their first Belgian title since 1957, Mark van Bommel is now plotting a debut Champions League campaign – starting at Barcelona, where he won the trophy in 2006

This is Antwerp’s first Champions League campaign and what a way to start – away at Barcelona. What will you be telling your players; how will you prepare them for this match? 

Pretty much in the same way as [we did] for the [Belgian league] play-offs at the end of last season, six very close matches in terms of points, but also level of play and details. What I told the players was to try and always prepare the way you normally would. My job is to get the tactics right for them, so they know what to expect and how the opponent is going to play and how we should play against them. I explain what our own playing strategy is going to be, so they know what their task is.

What does playing Barcelona mean to you?

It’s absolutely fabulous that we, Antwerp, will be playing there. Nobody would have expected that we would be playing Barcelona last year, at the start of the season, exactly a year ago now. That we would win the [Belgian] league and qualify for the Champions League, nobody would have expected it and it’s truly unique. We can count ourselves lucky, but now that we’re here, we also want to perform.

Are expectations at Antwerp rising all the time? Do you feel you can make things happen in this competition?

Yes, that’s what we really want. It’s just not that easy, it’s our first time in the Champions League. The fans, the city… you can really sense that we’ve achieved something unique. Hearing the Champions League hymn being played before the AEK Athens match [in the play-offs] was very special. All teams in the group stage have a chance of going through. Certain teams have a greater chance than others, but there’s always a chance. It’s never the case that you don’t have any chance at all, especially not in a single match. In a group, there are opportunities. Form on the day, possible suspensions and injuries come into play and then the little details. 

van Bommel in his playing days, celebrateing with Samuel Eto'o after scoring against Betis in 2005

How important is it to get those little details right?

It’s all in the detail. We have experienced that against AEK twice already and it is great that we can take that with us. Gaining experience by experiencing, especially with our young group of players. Matches are decided in a moment or two. That may sound strange, because you play for 90 minutes, but often you only get one chance. The players need to experience playing AEK away; you’re leading 1-0 and you’ll be playing in a cauldron that is roasting hot, not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of atmosphere. You need to learn how to handle that and how to remain calm. You need to keep playing in the same way and not get carried away. Those are great learning opportunities.

The details went in your favour at the end of last season – tell us about how you won the league…

Unbelievable. I started as a new coach, so you try to convince your players of your strategy and you try to do that as quickly as possible as the season starts soon. We started the league and won nine games in a row. That broke a record from 1931. We had some poor games just ahead of the World Cup and dropped a few points. During the World Cup we did a training camp and after we had an upward trend, certainly in January and February, where we played some great matches. We moved on to the [Belgian] Cup final, then directly into the play-offs. That started fantastically, with three wins in a row. After that, it became a roller coaster. We lost at [Club] Brugge, but we got another chance to win the league the week after, on the penultimate matchday, against Union [Saint-Gilloise]. Everyone was prepared and assumed we would be crowned champions at home, for the first time in 66 years. We conceded in the last ten minutes and drew. We had to wait another week, knowing that a win would clinch the title. Union played at home and had the same number of points, Genk had one less point than us. On that last day, it was Union winning the title, Genk winning the title, us winning the title, right until the end. If you have an ending like that, it is unbelievable. I do not think that will ever happen again, not with three teams. To clinch the title with a goal by Toby Alderweireld [in added time], it is fantastic.

What prompted you to come to Antwerp?

Because they asked me. I thought about it and believed the club was right for me. A bit of a hardcore club, fanatic fans. A club that is growing, they were in the second division only seven years ago. A club under construction: facilities were good, the group of players, I was very happy with that. I knew that structure was becoming better than it already was. We went much too fast, really. In everything. The way we played, the results, it gets the fans going, the city, the club. The expectations are much higher now, but it could not have been better.  

What is the best part of the manager’s job? 

You get to practise certain things in training, you come up with things. You watch your opponent on video, and you come up with a plan to suit your own way of playing and it then pays off. You practise something in training. The boys understand you and when you’re in the dug-out during the match, you see the things you agreed on happening on the pitch and it makes you win the match. That gives a manager the most satisfaction at that moment. Seeing the progress you’ve made throughout the season, that’s why you became a manager, to make the team play better football. Once a team starts to play better – like the way we did last season, we got better and better – that is also good for individual players. It draws attention to them. For a manager, that's the ultimate thing to happen. 

Penalty Pedigree

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This is Antwerp’s first Champions League campaign and what a way to start – away at Barcelona. What will you be telling your players; how will you prepare them for this match? 

Pretty much in the same way as [we did] for the [Belgian league] play-offs at the end of last season, six very close matches in terms of points, but also level of play and details. What I told the players was to try and always prepare the way you normally would. My job is to get the tactics right for them, so they know what to expect and how the opponent is going to play and how we should play against them. I explain what our own playing strategy is going to be, so they know what their task is.

What does playing Barcelona mean to you?

It’s absolutely fabulous that we, Antwerp, will be playing there. Nobody would have expected that we would be playing Barcelona last year, at the start of the season, exactly a year ago now. That we would win the [Belgian] league and qualify for the Champions League, nobody would have expected it and it’s truly unique. We can count ourselves lucky, but now that we’re here, we also want to perform.

Are expectations at Antwerp rising all the time? Do you feel you can make things happen in this competition?

Yes, that’s what we really want. It’s just not that easy, it’s our first time in the Champions League. The fans, the city… you can really sense that we’ve achieved something unique. Hearing the Champions League hymn being played before the AEK Athens match [in the play-offs] was very special. All teams in the group stage have a chance of going through. Certain teams have a greater chance than others, but there’s always a chance. It’s never the case that you don’t have any chance at all, especially not in a single match. In a group, there are opportunities. Form on the day, possible suspensions and injuries come into play and then the little details. 

van Bommel in his playing days, celebrateing with Samuel Eto'o after scoring against Betis in 2005

How important is it to get those little details right?

It’s all in the detail. We have experienced that against AEK twice already and it is great that we can take that with us. Gaining experience by experiencing, especially with our young group of players. Matches are decided in a moment or two. That may sound strange, because you play for 90 minutes, but often you only get one chance. The players need to experience playing AEK away; you’re leading 1-0 and you’ll be playing in a cauldron that is roasting hot, not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of atmosphere. You need to learn how to handle that and how to remain calm. You need to keep playing in the same way and not get carried away. Those are great learning opportunities.

The details went in your favour at the end of last season – tell us about how you won the league…

Unbelievable. I started as a new coach, so you try to convince your players of your strategy and you try to do that as quickly as possible as the season starts soon. We started the league and won nine games in a row. That broke a record from 1931. We had some poor games just ahead of the World Cup and dropped a few points. During the World Cup we did a training camp and after we had an upward trend, certainly in January and February, where we played some great matches. We moved on to the [Belgian] Cup final, then directly into the play-offs. That started fantastically, with three wins in a row. After that, it became a roller coaster. We lost at [Club] Brugge, but we got another chance to win the league the week after, on the penultimate matchday, against Union [Saint-Gilloise]. Everyone was prepared and assumed we would be crowned champions at home, for the first time in 66 years. We conceded in the last ten minutes and drew. We had to wait another week, knowing that a win would clinch the title. Union played at home and had the same number of points, Genk had one less point than us. On that last day, it was Union winning the title, Genk winning the title, us winning the title, right until the end. If you have an ending like that, it is unbelievable. I do not think that will ever happen again, not with three teams. To clinch the title with a goal by Toby Alderweireld [in added time], it is fantastic.

What prompted you to come to Antwerp?

Because they asked me. I thought about it and believed the club was right for me. A bit of a hardcore club, fanatic fans. A club that is growing, they were in the second division only seven years ago. A club under construction: facilities were good, the group of players, I was very happy with that. I knew that structure was becoming better than it already was. We went much too fast, really. In everything. The way we played, the results, it gets the fans going, the city, the club. The expectations are much higher now, but it could not have been better.  

What is the best part of the manager’s job? 

You get to practise certain things in training, you come up with things. You watch your opponent on video, and you come up with a plan to suit your own way of playing and it then pays off. You practise something in training. The boys understand you and when you’re in the dug-out during the match, you see the things you agreed on happening on the pitch and it makes you win the match. That gives a manager the most satisfaction at that moment. Seeing the progress you’ve made throughout the season, that’s why you became a manager, to make the team play better football. Once a team starts to play better – like the way we did last season, we got better and better – that is also good for individual players. It draws attention to them. For a manager, that's the ultimate thing to happen. 

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

This is Antwerp’s first Champions League campaign and what a way to start – away at Barcelona. What will you be telling your players; how will you prepare them for this match? 

Pretty much in the same way as [we did] for the [Belgian league] play-offs at the end of last season, six very close matches in terms of points, but also level of play and details. What I told the players was to try and always prepare the way you normally would. My job is to get the tactics right for them, so they know what to expect and how the opponent is going to play and how we should play against them. I explain what our own playing strategy is going to be, so they know what their task is.

What does playing Barcelona mean to you?

It’s absolutely fabulous that we, Antwerp, will be playing there. Nobody would have expected that we would be playing Barcelona last year, at the start of the season, exactly a year ago now. That we would win the [Belgian] league and qualify for the Champions League, nobody would have expected it and it’s truly unique. We can count ourselves lucky, but now that we’re here, we also want to perform.

Are expectations at Antwerp rising all the time? Do you feel you can make things happen in this competition?

Yes, that’s what we really want. It’s just not that easy, it’s our first time in the Champions League. The fans, the city… you can really sense that we’ve achieved something unique. Hearing the Champions League hymn being played before the AEK Athens match [in the play-offs] was very special. All teams in the group stage have a chance of going through. Certain teams have a greater chance than others, but there’s always a chance. It’s never the case that you don’t have any chance at all, especially not in a single match. In a group, there are opportunities. Form on the day, possible suspensions and injuries come into play and then the little details. 

van Bommel in his playing days, celebrateing with Samuel Eto'o after scoring against Betis in 2005

How important is it to get those little details right?

It’s all in the detail. We have experienced that against AEK twice already and it is great that we can take that with us. Gaining experience by experiencing, especially with our young group of players. Matches are decided in a moment or two. That may sound strange, because you play for 90 minutes, but often you only get one chance. The players need to experience playing AEK away; you’re leading 1-0 and you’ll be playing in a cauldron that is roasting hot, not only temperature-wise, but also in terms of atmosphere. You need to learn how to handle that and how to remain calm. You need to keep playing in the same way and not get carried away. Those are great learning opportunities.

The details went in your favour at the end of last season – tell us about how you won the league…

Unbelievable. I started as a new coach, so you try to convince your players of your strategy and you try to do that as quickly as possible as the season starts soon. We started the league and won nine games in a row. That broke a record from 1931. We had some poor games just ahead of the World Cup and dropped a few points. During the World Cup we did a training camp and after we had an upward trend, certainly in January and February, where we played some great matches. We moved on to the [Belgian] Cup final, then directly into the play-offs. That started fantastically, with three wins in a row. After that, it became a roller coaster. We lost at [Club] Brugge, but we got another chance to win the league the week after, on the penultimate matchday, against Union [Saint-Gilloise]. Everyone was prepared and assumed we would be crowned champions at home, for the first time in 66 years. We conceded in the last ten minutes and drew. We had to wait another week, knowing that a win would clinch the title. Union played at home and had the same number of points, Genk had one less point than us. On that last day, it was Union winning the title, Genk winning the title, us winning the title, right until the end. If you have an ending like that, it is unbelievable. I do not think that will ever happen again, not with three teams. To clinch the title with a goal by Toby Alderweireld [in added time], it is fantastic.

What prompted you to come to Antwerp?

Because they asked me. I thought about it and believed the club was right for me. A bit of a hardcore club, fanatic fans. A club that is growing, they were in the second division only seven years ago. A club under construction: facilities were good, the group of players, I was very happy with that. I knew that structure was becoming better than it already was. We went much too fast, really. In everything. The way we played, the results, it gets the fans going, the city, the club. The expectations are much higher now, but it could not have been better.  

What is the best part of the manager’s job? 

You get to practise certain things in training, you come up with things. You watch your opponent on video, and you come up with a plan to suit your own way of playing and it then pays off. You practise something in training. The boys understand you and when you’re in the dug-out during the match, you see the things you agreed on happening on the pitch and it makes you win the match. That gives a manager the most satisfaction at that moment. Seeing the progress you’ve made throughout the season, that’s why you became a manager, to make the team play better football. Once a team starts to play better – like the way we did last season, we got better and better – that is also good for individual players. It draws attention to them. For a manager, that's the ultimate thing to happen. 

Penalty Pedigree

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